Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
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©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine ( 2019 ) 18 , 239 - 247

Research article
Associations among Basic Psychological Needs, Motivation and Enjoyment within Finnish Physical Education Students
Mikko Huhtiniemi1, , Arja Sääkslahti1, Anthony Watt2, Timo Jaakkola1
Author Information
1 Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
2 College of Arts and Education, Victoria University, Australia

Mikko Huhtiniemi
✉ Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Email: mikko.huhtiniemi@jyu.fi
Publish Date
Received: 01-11-2018
Accepted: 18-02-2019
Published (online): 01-06-2019
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ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to analyse the associations between basic psychological needs, motivational regulations and enjoyment within Finnish physical education (PE) students. The participants of the study were 260 Grade 5 students (Mage=11.86, SD=0.28) and 242 Grade 8 students (Mage=14.93, SD=0.37) who completed a questionnaire prior to their regular PE classes. This cross-sectional study incorporated a multigroup structural equation modelling (SEM, path model) separately for Grade 5 and 8 students, using gender as a grouping value. Results indicated that among Grade 5 students autonomy was directly associated with enjoyment. In addition, there was an indirect path from autonomy to enjoyment via intrinsic regulation in the boys group, and an indirect path from relatedness to enjoyment via intrinsic regulation in the girls group. Among Grade 8 students, need for competence was directly associated with enjoyment for the boys. Results also revealed negative associations from autonomy to enjoyment via amotivation for the girls group, and via external regulation for the boys group. For both Grades 5 and 8 SEM revealed additional, gender specific associations. The results of this study highlight the importance of students’ need satisfaction and autonomous motivation as factors that could facilitate enjoyable experiences in PE classes.

Key words: psychological needs, motivation, enjoyment, physical education


           Key Points
  • This study investigated enjoyment in PE among Grade 5 and Grade 8 boys and girls from the view-point of the self-determination theory (SDT).
  • Generally, the findings are in line with the theoretical assumptions described in the SDT where it is argued that needs satisfaction would directly, and indirectly via autonomous motivation, promote PE enjoyment.
  • Findings indicated some differences among boys and girls in both age-groups regarding the links between different psychological needs, motivational regulations and enjoyment. Results are especially interesting for teachers planning and conducting PE lessons for these age-groups.
 
 
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